Tuesday, May 31

Swimming With The Sharks

There was a recent news story saying the local aquatic park was giving people a chance to swim with sharks.

Imagine how excited the kids are going to be to hear that. "C'mon, Johnny and Judy, we're going to go swimming with man eating fish. Remember all those tuna sandwiches you've eaten over the years? Well, we're going to give the seafood a chance for some payback."

Have we reached the point where we are so jaded that this is what it takes to get a little thrill in our lives? What's next?

  • Driving with the drunks? "Get on board with Uncle Charlie at the wheel. He's got a six pack under the seat, a bottle of gin in the glove box and he's a-hankerin' to give Smokey a run for his money."

  • Eating with the E. Coli? "Only sissies wash their chicken parts. Just throw 'em in the pan, and don't cook 'em too long, either. "

  • Voting with the vacuous... Oh, wait. We already tried that.

Sunday, May 29

The Paris Letter

I saw this play the other night called "The Paris Letter". I knew nothing about the play but as I watched I realized that just a little bit beneath the surface there were gay overtones in the script.

If you are a follower of this blog you know that I don't always see gayness in the world around me. Not until intermission, when I noticed the line at the men's room was so much longer than the line at the ladies', did I realized that perhaps I had once again been bitten by the bug of unawareness. I might add that the men's room line was populated by extraordinarily good looking young men with faultless taste in clothing.

Of course my wife - that's right, I'm married even though I occasionally attend gay themed theater - knew what was going on right away because she uses the ladies' room and I don't -- ever.

After we sat back down and were waiting for the second half to begin, she was happily chatting up the three fellows sitting on our right, discussing the costumes and lighting, as I was trying to see if anyone knew the score of the Yankee game.

Anyway, the play turned out to be pretty good and I did enjoy it, even though it had nothing - whatsoever - do to with my own personal life experience at all, I swear.

I have to admit, though, I'm relieved that the next show we're going to see is a musical. I guess don't have to worry too much about missing anything gay in one of those. There's nothing straighter than a Broadway musical.

It's this show about a nightclub owner in France who's son is getting married. A nice wholesome family show. Just what I need.

Thursday, May 26

The Vision Thing

I heard on NPR this morning that the president of Syria is a former eye doctor.

This is not surprising. A lot of politicians seem to be giving you a political eye exam when you try to pin them down.

"Now, Mr. Public, I have several positions on this issue. Tell me which one you agree with most. Number 1 or number 2?"

"Uh, number 2 I guess."

"Alright, now number 2 or number 3?"

"Still number 2, I think..."

"Number 2 or number 4?"

"Maybe number 4 -- but not much difference. Well, maybe..."

"Number 4 or number 2?"

"No, number 4 is a little...."

"Number 4 or number 6?"

"What happend to number 5?"

"Number 5 does not energize my base. Number 6 or number 7?"

"Say, now many positions do you have on this issue?"

"Number 7 or number 88?"

"How can you possibly have 88 positions on one issue?"

"Because I have Vision."


"I have Focus."

"Yeah, yeah..."

"I'm Farsighted..."

"Enough with the visual metaphors!"

"And if you can't See that..."

"'See'. I get it."

"...then you are Politically Presbyopic ."

"Well, that's where you're wrong, my friend. I'm not Presbyopic ."


"No, I'm Episcopalian."

"Get out."

Tuesday, May 24

Rebel Without A...Whatever

I came home the other day to find my son watching the movie "Rebel Without A Cause".

Aha, I thought, a chance to bond, so I sat down to watch with him.

It soon became evident that the version he was watching was quite different from the version I remember watching 40 years ago, when I was his age.

That movie was about a group of misunderstood teens whose foolish, feckless fathers prevented them from realizing their true potential.

This version seemed to be about a group of wise, judicious fathers trying to prevent their teen-aged children from ruining their lives by making bad choices.

Perhaps it was one of those re-edited, family friendly films.

"That's a pretty intense film", I said when it ended. "Much more thoughtful than what you usually watch. Maybe you're growing up a little bit."

"Yeah, I guess. We had to watch it for History class. We're studying the Fifties."

Now I am faced with the disturbing fact that years during which I actually lived have become the subject of historical study.

It makes me feel feckless.

Thursday, May 19

Union Dues

The other day I was walking by my grocery store. I say "my" grocery store because New York is a town where you are expected to take sides, and not just Yankees-Mets or Giants-Jets. You find a grocery store you like and it becomes your grocery store and anybody who shops at another grocery store, well they are just displaying poor judgment. My wife wouldn't be caught dead in my grocery store. She prefers to shop at that other grocery store. I don't like that other grocery store. It smells funny.

Anyway, as I passed my grocery store I was handed a pamphlet informing me that I shouldn't shop there because the workers were trying to form a union and the management was opposing them. This created a dilemma for me.

I've always been a "Union man". I've belonged to several unions. I've griped about having to pay dues for what I saw as little benefit, but I've also defended the right of spoiled, overpaid athletes to prematurely end a season over a free agency clause. I even went on strike once. I've sung songs about the copper-boss thug-men busting the heads of noble miners when I've never been near a copper mine in my life.

Now I was presented by a real life challenge. Do I turn against my grocery store for the sake of some unkempt people I didn’t even know? On that day I chose to walk on, deciding my shopping could wait.

A week later the pamphleteers were gone and I tentatively went inside. Everyone seemed happy. There were no signs of thug-men or copper-bosses. Still, I couldn't help wondering what happened. Were the picketers arrested for not having a parade permit? Were the people, united, never defeated? Were heads busted?

I hope my grocery store did the right thing and let the workers organize.

If they did I can always think of it as "my" union.

If they didn't? Well, there's always that smelly store down the street.

Tuesday, May 17

Ripped from the headlines

I like those Law and Order shows because many of the plots are thinly disguised version of recent news events. They come right out and say the stories are "ripped from the headlines".

What if some other shows were ripped from the headlines?

"Tonight on Everybody Loves Raymond -- Ripped from the headlines -- Raymond's nomination as Ambassador to the United Nations is brought into question because of his belligerent attitude toward female co-workers. Hilarity ensues."

"This Wednesday on Alias -- Ripped from the headlines -- Sydney's wedding plans hit a snag when she gets cold feet and falsifies a kidnapping report to escape the altar. Blames kidnapping on Hispanic African American Illegal Aliens -- and Rambaldi ."

"The O.C. simmers this week when -- Ripped from the headlines -- Ryan finds a severed finger in his chili and Sandy files a multi-million dollar lawsuit, only to find the finger was put there as a prank by Seth, The Ironist."

"Tonight on Martha Stewart Living - Ripped from the headlines -- Martha, under house arrest, must never, ever leave her house under any circumstances..." Oh, never mind that one. No one would believe it.

"Next on The West Wing -- Ripped from the headlines -- The heir apparent of a Major World Power marries his mistress of 62 years to universal..." Nah, too weird.

"Tonight on Fox News - Ripped from the..." Skip it. No one would believe that, either.

This ripped from the headlines stuff is harder than it looks.

Monday, May 16

Retro Pop Quiz IX

Before he was Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, what was William Rehnquist's job?

Friday, May 13

Where have you gone, Betty Crocker?

I feel like such a fool. I heard the other day that there is no real Betty Crocker. She--I mean IT--was just made up by some advertising executive about a hundred years ago. Those pictures on the cake mix boxes? Invention! Those signatures on the cookbooks? Forgeries!

I feel so cheap and used. If there is no Betty Crocker then what about Duncan Hines? Uncle Ben? Marie Callender? Dick Cheney? Are they just made up, too?

How can anything be certain in a world made of diaphanous gossamer and gauzy mendacity?

I don't know what to do. I just don't know.

I think I have to run this by Dear Abby and see what she thinks.

Thursday, May 12

Too young, Too old

Throughout my life I've played a little game with myself that I call "Too Young, Too Old". As I reach a certain age I list the things I'm too young for and the things I'm too old for.

It used to be there were many, many things I was too young for:

  • At 12 I was too young to grow sideburns.

  • At 17 I was too young to vote

  • At 20 I was too young to buy beer

  • At 24 I was too young to rent a car

  • At 34 I was too young to be president

Now there are more and more things I'm too old for. For example a career as a Major League baseball player is pretty much out of the question, although by the looks of it the Yankees still have some interest in us old-timers.

And I can only thing of three things I'm too young for:

  • Medicare

  • Withdrawing from a 401K without substantial penalty.

  • Pope

Tuesday, May 10


I have a dear friend whom shall remain nameless, whom occasionally informs me of some typographical or gramatical error that I've made in these postings. I do my own profreading (and I think I do a petty good job]. Once in a while I allow a misque, but honesty, I don"t thik I let two many errors to get though.

Be that is it may, I want to thank Douglas - OH, DAM! I said he would remain nameless. I gotta start reeding this stuff over before posting it, but I ask you __ whose got the tiem/

Forgive me, anonymous blog chekcer Douglas - dammit, said his name again. I beter quit while im a head.

Now, let me just run the spelchekcer on this and...Crap! Well, I don't have time to fix all that.

Ahh, the heck with it. Nobody will notice.

Except you-kno-wwho.

Monday, May 9

Retro Pop Quiz VIII

The Buffalo Springfield song "For What It's Worth" was inspired by what event?

Friday, May 6

Ghraiby Prison Blues

I see the incidents at Abu Ghraib prison are back in the news. This got me thinking - How come we don't hear any good old fashioned prison songs anymore?

I see the guard a-comin'
This torment will not cease
It looks like Lyndie England
And I think she brought the leash.
I'm stuck in Abu Ghraiby
Way down in Baghdad town.
I know I got some trouble -
They brought the cam'ras round.
  Now I'm standin' with some
Other naked guys in line.
Soon you'll see my picture
In the New York Times.
I’m incommunicado
And posing 'gainst my will.
And what’s with all this "Say Cheese"?
When dairy makes me ill.
  When I was a young man
My mother said "Hey, son
"Don't you be a Shiite,
"Sunnis have more fun."
What would she say if she could see me
Doing this naked dance?
"Next time you go to prison,
"Put on a pair of pants!"

Wednesday, May 4

Family Friendly Films

I saw a show on TV the other night about a group that will take a movie, re-edit it by cutting out the parts they think are offensive, and then rent it as a family friendly version of the film. The idea is to turn a typical Hollywood R-rated film into something you can watch with your kids without being embarrassed.

I can sympathize with these folks. If you have ever watched an Adam Sandler movie with a 12 year old, you know what I mean.

As an example they used a scene from the movie Troy. In this scene Achilles (Brad Pitt) is getting ready to run Hector (Eric Bana) through with a sword. We see Achilles heading toward Hector with the sword held high, we see Hector looking up in fear, we see a wide shot of Achilles driving the sword into Hector’s chest, we see a couple of women looking away in horror, and we see Achilles walking away in triumph. This was director Wolfgang Peterson’s vision of Achilles killing Hector.

In the family friendly version we see everything except the sword actually going through Hector. That way nobody has to be embarrassed by seeing one actor pretend to stick a fake sword into another actor. We know Hector got killed because a couple of women looked away in horror. Of course without actually seeing the sword go in we might assume that Hector just wet his pants or threw up, which might also cause the women (and some men) to look away. But clearly the assumption has to be that he got stabbed. Why else would Achilles walk away in triumph? Okay, I guess if I made the greatest Trojan warrior wet his pants I might walk away in triumph, but it just makes more sense to think he got stabbed. If we think he wet his pants, someone could get embarrassed. If we think he got stabbed, well, that's okay. End of discussion. He didn't wet his pants. He got stabbed.

Personally, I don’t feel they went far enough. If they are going to take out offensive parts to make it family friendly, why not put in a few things to make it even family friendlier.

How about instead of a couple of women looking away in horror, we throw in a couple of funny animal sidekicks for Achilles? Say Zorba, the dumb but lovably loyal three headed dog and Kojak, a wisecracking goat.

How about this: Achilles is a dumb but lovably loyal husband with a wisecracking wife and kids who are a whole lot smarter than he is? What could be friendlier than that?

And, let's face it, there hasn't been a myth, legend, or saga devised that wouldn't benefit from a couple of jolly tunes. Just look at Pocahontas or Phantom of the Opera.

You know, now that I think back on it, I'm more certain than ever that Hector could not have possibly wet his pants. As I recall it, he wasn't wearing pants. What he was wearing was more like a mini-skirt.

Looks like we've got more editing to do.

Tuesday, May 3

The Colon Monologues

Recently while undergoing a colonoscopy I had a Demerol induced vision that my colon actually was on TV...

Hi. I'm Jim's colon, and I want you to know I'm not too happy about it. Heart, Lungs - now those are the glamour organs. Even Stomach is more respected than I am. Stomach even gets a cutsy name - "tummy". "It's yummy in my tummy." For crying out loud.

How come you never hear "It's rollin' down my colon"? No, at most you'll hear "Oy, do I have a cramp!"

My main function seems to be to see to it that Jim has an excuse each morning for some quiet solitude while he reads the newspaper.

Alright, now for a little anatomy lesson. If you opened Jim up, pulled me out, and laid me end-to-end I would strech for almost 35 feet. Thirty-five stinking, bloody feet of hot, oozing colon. Do you really want to see that? I didn't think so.

End of lesson.

You don't really want to hear anymore about me, do you? I bet if I was your tummy you'd listen! "Oooh, my tummy's growling." Ha! When I growl it's just embarassing.

Look why don't you get that lousy camera out of my face and let me get back to whatever the hell it is I do!

Sunday, May 1

Retro Pop Quiz VII

In the 1972 election the Democrats had two different vice-presidential candidates.

Who were they?